Amateur Golfer Schools the Pros

A local teen even beat Tiger Woods

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Derek Togerson

    18-year-old Anthony Paolucci is a senior at La Jolla Country Day High School. Over the weekend, however, he was one of the best golfers in the world.

    Paolucci finished 3-under par at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Only 28 of the best players in the world were better.

    Amateur Golfer Schools the Pros

    [DGO] Amateur Golfer Schools the Pros
    Anthony Paolucci made sure his invitation to Torrey Pines wasn't wasted. (Published Monday, Jan 31, 2011)

    Anthony's score would have been even more amazing had it not been for a hiccup on his first PGA Tour round.

    "Get off to that horrible start, 3 over after 3, that can bring all sorts of questions in your mind," said Paolucci. "Should I even be playing here? Am I going to break 80? Am I going to make a birdie?"

    The answers turned out to be yes, yes, and heck yes! Anthony didn't just break 80, he never shot a round over par. As for the birdies, well, they came in flocks.

    "To make 21 birdies to keep you at a 3-under par, I know I can take it low on any golf course now."

    La Jolla Country Day is a long par-5 away from Torrey Pines, but Anthony hasn't played the course very often. Well, not in real life.

    "I've played Torrey Pines a lot on the Playstation," said Paolucci, "so I knew the layout at least. I knew what I was doing and how to figure out for my own game how to work out."

    That video game is Tiger Woods Golf, which is perfect in its irony. When Anthony walked on campus Monday morning, his classmates reveled not in his 29th place finish against a great field on a U.S.

    Open course, but something else. He beat Tiger Woods. His reaction to that is simple.

    "That's pretty sweet," he said.

    He beat him by 2 shots, which would have won Paolucci 34-thousand dollars. But, amateurs are not allowed to collect PGA paychecks. Still, Anthony is putting off his pro career. This week it's off to Georgia to play in the Jones Cup, and next year he'll play golf at USC. Until then, it's back to reality of high school life.

    "I have a calculus test to take," he said.